Tennessee governor allows sports betting without signature

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In this Friday, Jan. 18, 2019 file photo, Tennessee Gov.-elect Bill Lee takes part in a walk-through for his inauguration in War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee has signed legislation that would likely make Tennessee the first to fine voter registration groups for turning in too many incomplete signup forms. It drew an immediate federal lawsuit. Tennessee’s NAACP chapter and other voter registration groups sued after Lee signed the bill Thursday, May 2, 2019 backed by Republican Secretary of State Tre Hargett. Groups submitting 100-plus incomplete registrations over a year could be fined. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is about to become the first state in the nation to offer an online-only sportsbook as the governor says he has reluctantly allowed a sports betting proposal to become law without his signature.

However Gov. Bill Lee on Friday warned that any future attempt to expand gambling throughout the state would result in a veto.

Lee announced he was allowing the bill to become enacted because it did not “pursue casinos,” which he said encourages criminal activity.

The legislation, which has a July 1 effective date, would allow regulated statewide mobile and interactive sports gambling for people 21 and older.

The proposal is projected to bring in more than $50 million annually.

States are increasingly legalizing sports betting after the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way last year.

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